Thursday, November 26, 2015

Reach for the Stars

I write this on Thanksgiving. I'm certainly not thankful NASCAR is over for the season but I am grateful there is always next year to look forward to fill our lives with joy and heartbreak and suspense and excitement.

We ended this year with great story lines galore. Jeff Gordon in his last year. It wasn't perfect but it was good. He was there clear until the end and that's all any driver can really hope for. The same with Martin Truex, Jr. Finally, of course, Kyle Busch won in a triumph over adversity having spent the first 11 races on the injured list before bounding past the competition when he came back.

NASCAR fans love their controversies and some fans have grumbled about Kyle being allowed to compete for the championship after missing so many races. They grouch that there should be an asterisk beside his name in the championship rolls. If that's so, it should be an asterisk that says - "winner, despite having given his competition an 11 race head start."

It was quite a season for the M&Ms driver. Not only did he win the Sprint Cup but his truck team won that championship too with Erik Jones, 2015's wonderkind, and the youngest truck champion ever.

And congratulations to Chris Buescher for earning the Xfinity series championship. Chris doesn't have that outgoing charisma some of the young guns have but he kept his cool and just drove steadily forward to victory.

I'll say, as I've said before - I like the Chase but I really don't care for the elimination aspect NASCAR added. I think it plays to other qualities besides team and driver performance but having said that, I'm old and the crowd NASCAR is trying to lure in are the younger folks. They are X-Gamers and adrenaline junkies. They have shorter attentions spans so you have to keep it constantly thrilling to draw them. Whatever NASCAR does, I'll still keep watching....even from the nursing home.

Right now, the Daytona 500 seems so very far away. I always say that but it's here before I know it. Next year will be another nostalgic season as we say good-bye to Tony. He's getting a new crew chief for 2016. I don't know what his problems have been but I hope this change fixes them so he can drive off from the front like Jeff.

In February, everyone has an equal chance. Every hope hangs out there as a bright shiny possibility. As a Jimmie fan, I will anticipate JJ's first race win of 2016 when he will match Dale Earnhardt, Sr's win total....and then the next race when he surpasses Dale. I will root and pray and hold my breath and keep my fingers crossed for Jimmie's 7th championship. For others, there may be different dreams. If they are transferring their allegiance from to Jeff to his replacement in the 24, they may be dreaming for a bang-up rookie season for Chase Elliott. Some may hope to see Danica in the top 10. Or for another new driver to take home the Cup, like Denny Hamlin or Joey Logano or heck, even Kyle Larson. Any of those things could happen. As it stands today, everyone is equal and that means we can all reach for the stars.